As experienced travelers know, any visit to a foreign city is better when one has the fortune to be accompanied by an insider. Many websites and apps have been created to bridge the knowledge gap between locals and tourists, however the new startup Butlair aims to go one better, directly providing visitors with information personalized to their needs. Through Butlair a team of locals is on hand to provide guidance and insider tips to every traveler via… text message!
How it Works
Head to www.butlair.com, choose the duration of your stay (prices start at €7 for one day, €16 for three, or €28 for one week) and get very own man (or woman) in Athens. Via Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or WeChat, you can ask about anything, from the best restaurants in any given area according to your tastes and budget, to what parties are on, to what gift to get your lover, 24/7. Your insider can also book you tickets, call you a doctor or even arrange delivery for items you may need in a pinch, such as a phone charger or spare suitcase.
“In most of the places we traveled to, we realized that we had a better time when we knew someone who lived there. Even if they couldn’t meet us, we would send them a message. That is what we wanted to create with Butlair. Have as good a time as possible and we are here for you.” So say co-founders Aggelina Grammatikaki and Leonidas Kapralos. Their idea was awarded as an Early Stage Startup at The Digital Gate competition organized last June by Athens International Airport together with the Athens University of Economics.
The best springtime outing in Athens:
Grab a coffee in Thiseio and head up Philopappou Hill (adjacent to the Acropolis). At this time of year it is leafy and colorful and the temperatures are not too high. From the Pnyx (the ancient gathering site for Athens’s citizenry and political leaders) you can see the Acropolis in one direction and down to the sea in the other. If you walk down on the other side you will come to the neighborhood of Petralona where on Troon street you will find numerous options for simple but very tasty Greek food.
3 NOT-TO-MISS EVENTS IN MARCH IN ATHENS
Technopolis (the exhibition space housed in the old gasworks in Gazi) is currently hosting the exhibition GR80s, a detailed look at a decade of change and optimism for Greece. Filled with donated memorabilia such as old toys, adverts and the technological wonders of yesteryear (remember walkmans?), the exhibition is an illuminating homage to a key period in Greece’s modern history. Different sections focus on the politics, fashion, consumer culture and more; there is even a recreation of a typical Athenian flat in the 80s that is bound to trigger a sense of nostalgia for anyone who visited the city during that time. The exhibition was due to close on March 12 but due to popular demand will run to March 19.(100 Pireos St.• www.technopolis-athens.com)
The Paris-to-Istanbul concerts in Rouf Train Station
Five train carriages from five different times and places are stationed in Rouf Train Station (the oldest being from 1926). The train operates as a cultural venue and this year, for the third year running, in the Greek-built carriage that once formed part of the original Orient Express, songs will be played from every country the legendary train once passed through. Concerts take place every Friday until April 7th. Book early. (Rouf Train Station, Konstantinoupoleos Ave. • Tel. (+30) 2105298922, • Tel. (+30) 6937604988)
Exhibition: Cycladic Society 5,000 Years Ago
The exhibition currently on at the Museum of Cycladic Art explores the pastimes, diet, religious beliefs and more of the people who lived in the Cyclades 5 millennia ago. It will run until the end of March.
The best beach in Attica
Put ‘Legrena’ into your GPS or smartphone and let it direct you down the coastal road known as ‘Athens’s Riviera’ towards the cape of Sounion with its famous temple. A few kilometers before Sounion you will reach a long beach with fine white sand that feels a lot further away from the city than the hour’s drive it takes to get there.
The Archetypal Local Athenian bar
Batman, a small but historic bar in a typical Athenian neighborhood, is almost unchanged from when it first opened 1989. Smoky and chock-full of lively characters chatting over the classic ‘rebetika‘ playlist, it’s a great place for a beer, glass of wine or scotch on the rocks. (Vresthenis 40 • Neos Kosmos)